Running the Numbers - Better Late Than Never

What happens when you combine a moody computer, capped internet speeds and a flu-ridden Kit? A post that I somehow managed to schedule a few months down the track, instead of last Friday. Genius! My apologies, it would appear that being ill is making me live up to my name quite successfully. So here, a few days late, is my Friday post...
There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy.
That used to be a huge number.
But it's only a hundred billion.
It's less than the national deficit!
We used to call them astronomical numbers.
Now we should call them economical numbers.

- Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
I don't know about you, but when I was growing up the richest person in the world was merely a millionaire, and even that seemed astronomical. The numbers that are being thrown around at the moment are incomprehensible to most, and they seem to have lost their meaning. Billions, trillions...whatever, right?

It's so easy to become desensitised from the numbers and statistics that we're bombared with on a daily basis, which is why I find the work of Chris Jordan so compelling and incredibly powerful.

He quantifies crucial statistics in a way that makes them understandable; he translates often shocking numbers into images of confronting beauty. In his first Running the Numbers series, he creates a self-portrait of American culture that is both profound and disturbing.

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Prison Uniforms, 2007
10x23 feet in six vertical panels

Depicts 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005. The U.S. has the largest prison population of any country in the world.

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Cans Seurat, 2007

Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

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Ben Franklin, 2007
8.5 feet wide by 10.5 feet tall in three horizontal panels

Depicts 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.

This year Jordan has turned his attention to the global trends of consumerism with Running the Numbers II, and the numbers are just as staggering and distressing. With my brutally capped internet I can barely even view any of his amazing new works, but I hope that throughout the year, as Jordan's collection and acclaim grows, the message he is trying to convey will finally be heard by those who need to hear it most.

Capped and Incoherent

The only thing worse than having capped internet speeds is knowing exactly what image you're after to express your current state of mind, yet being completely unable to find it unless you happen to have 3 hours to spare to wait for each page to load, one painful image after another.

My brain is currently not up to that sort of rigour, as I've managed to catch the flu for about the fourth time this year. Sure it's not of the swine variety, but surely 3 times was enough?! Curse you immune system!

Fortunately for my incoherent little brain, I just so happen to have an image in one of my inspiration folders that captures this perfectly. Random, sketchy, abstract? Check. Probably a fair bit cooler than what's going on in my brain right now (must sleep, sniff, must sleep, now cough, rinse and repeat), but swank has been creating fantastic illustrations for quite a while now, so I figure he's had a bit of a head start.

Did I mention I'm completely incoherent? Oh yeah, there it is in the title. Phew!

On the bright side, at least I have a few great discounts and even another fantabulous Giveaway Goodness to distract from my increasingly random babbling. What? Sleep? Ok.

Wednesdy Wisdom in the Distance

The foolish man seeks happiness
in the distance,
the wise grows it under his feet.

- James Oppenheim

Redemption via Discounts

The redemption continues! Whilst my computer is behaving (touch wood!) and I'm still fairly coherent, just a little reminder that the exclusive discount for 'Wish You Were Here' is in its final few days! And not just any discount, but a...

You have until 31st of May to delve into this fantabulous store and pick up an amazing print from either the Classics or Patternscapes ranges, or perhaps stock up on the great new selection of Patternscapes Cushions or even Patternscapes Fabrics for the crafty types!

All you have to do is enter the code 'Unreliable' on checkout, and the redemptive discount and the fantastical 'Wish You Were Here' goodness is yours forevers!

Giveaway Goodness Now With Extra Photography

Here I am again, bearing good news and the latest Giveaway Goodness! Well, the good news is the Giveaway Goodness, but that's not really the point. Thank you to the wonderful Rachel behind Moonflowers Photography, one lucky reader will have their pick of any photo from her incredible Etsy store!

Rachel alternates between Polaroid cameras, film and digital Canons, a holga, dianas and a few more old cameras for good measure. Not only am I incredibly envious of her camera collection, but her style is absolutely lust-worthy too. From soft, blurred forms through to crisp, sharp planes, her fantastic talent shines through across all formats.

I tried to select just a few of my favourites but I had a difficult time selecting any that I wasn't completely infatuated good luck choosing just one favourite, because to be in the running, you're going to have to try your best! Mosie on over to Moonflowers Photography and choose which piece you'd most love to see on your wall, then rock on back here and tell us why! One entry per person pretty please! Entries will be open until 11:59pm Friday 29 May, so get cracking!

I'm still on the hunt for reasonably priced Polaroid 600 film in my own back yard (alas, the Aussie dollar makes most eBay sales crazy expensive!) but in the meantime I shall drool over Rachel's beautiful photography. She also has a great site full of beautiful portraits and wedding photography, AND her own blog full of gorgeous little goodies too! So much loveliness, so little bandwidth (my internet speed is capped for another 9 days - ahhhhhh!)

Good luck!

Annnnnnd...I didn't wish you all a happy weekend last Friday! How rude! Then to make matters even worse, I didn't even say happy Monday. So I have a little more redemption coming up soon. Stay tuned my pretties!

Belated Giveaway Goodness

It would appear that I've lost a day, have you seen it? All last week I was thinking it was a day later than it actually was, and then suddenly I'm a day behind! I blame the weekend. Anyway, here I am a few hours late (I'm rounding down!) to announce the lucky winner of the latest...

I was so honoured when the lovely Stacy from Baer Feat Creations offered to create a special piece just for That Unreliable Girl readers, and so excited to see what she came up with!

Isn't it adorable?! And as much as I'd love to keep this little guy for myself, the right thing to do is send him on to a loving new home. As usual, was used to select the winning comment number, and the lucky winner is...

Congratulations til Sandra, one gorgeous hand painted teapot for you! A huge thank you so much to Stacy at Baer Feat Creations for making this giveaway possible, and of course thank you again to all who entered! As an extra little bonus for everyone, Stacy has also offered a magnificent...
Once you've found something on Baer Feat Creations that you simply must have, send an email their way, mention 'That Unreliable Girl' and you have yourself an instant 20% off!

This week's Giveaway Goodness will be coming up shortly, along with a few more goodies to make up for my absence yesterday!

Casual Friday - Pants Optional?!

Let me just start this post by stating up front that I do not condone anyone, anywhere, ever leaving their house without pants on. I don't care if you're Lady Gaga or if you subscribe to the recently popularised theory that tights and/or leggings suddenly, somehow qualify as pants. I do not.

But in the spirit of debate (and spurred on by the great comments on the infamous Man Candy post), let's indulge in a little pants-free fashion. What the hell, it's Friday?!

After a recent Vogue Paris editorial (March 2009) made it to the latest cover of Australian Vogue, I was perplexed. Essentially an advertorial for Chanel, photographer Patrick Demarchelier and model Edito Vilkeviciute have created a decidedly un-Chanel-esque aesthetic that's a little bit High Street with a dash of French Playboy. Apparently, pants are optional, even when wearing Chanel.

The last image in particular reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Elaine's workmates pick up on an unfortunate bra under suit jacket trend. But without pants. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this editorial, either these pants-free examples or the rest of the shoot for that matter.

But just when I was ready to shrug this little sans pants foray off as completely ludicrous and mildly humourous...

Bonds. I'm disappointed that you're going offshore and will no longer be made in Australia, and by jiminies you've had some bizarre advertising of late, but this commercial featuring the gorgeous Sarah Murdoch (formerly O'Hare) I was initially a little confused by this too, but I've come around. Sarah. Looks. Amazing. And yes, at least this is actually an advertisement for underwear, which hopefully means that we will not see people wearing this in the streets any time soon. But seriously, I doubt anyone could have ever convinced me that high waisted knickers could be so damn sexy.

Better yet, the combination of the 1950's sex bomb look with the 1983 Bow Wow Wow power-tune Aphrodisiac...genius. Yet another concept that would have sounded insane on paper, but somehow pulls together perfectly.

So my verdict: No pants in fashion editorials? Maybe. No pants in underwear commercials? Probably a fairly good marketing idea. No pants in public? Please, just don't.

PC vs Kit: PC 1 - Kit 0

Yes, I'm still battling with my PC. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it, especially if you happen to tune into my Twitter rants too, but believe it or not...there is a bright side! Although I have yet to have any success reinstalling any of the various programs I need to survive, I have had the pleasure of having a little looksee at Windows 7 and all it has to offer.

Don't tune out just yet, I'm not going to get into any technical stuff here, because let's be honest - in amongst all the crazy flashing patterned freak out screens (blue screens of doom are SO 2001), I haven't really been able to test this OS out. Plus I'm an XP die hard who refuses to 'upgrade' to Vista, so I don't really hold many credentials in that field anyway.

So what have I discovered, I hear you ask if you've managed to make it this far? Windows 7 is, amongst other things...really, really, ridiculously good looking.

Well, for Windows at least. Perhaps I'm merely sucked into the novelty of being able to alternate wallpapers at selected intervals a la iGoogle themes, or perhaps I'm just excited that the neo-blue screens of doom are holding off long enough that I get to see the wallpaper change once or twice. Then again, maybe I'm just excited because I haven't slept in about 30 hours?!

Regardless of my delusional, sleep-deprived state of mind or my copious caffeine intake, I'm quite fond of the Scenes theme wallpapers as featured above in all their glory. There's also a fairly decent range of slightly less quirky themes including Characters (aka Give Your Children Nightmares...not so much quirky as just plain scary), Nature, Landscapes, International, and even Architecture (don't even start me on quasi-abstract photos of ridiculously famous buildings...that's a rant for another day!) Not a ground-breaking suite of themes on the whole, but almost enough goodness that I might just miss them once I inevitably uninstall Windows 7. Almost.

(And yes I've saved the wallpapers so I can use them with XP anyway, but I'm going for dramatic effect here!)

Speaking of pretty things, get on board for this week's Giveaway Goodness! And keep the tea tips coming too pretty please, I need all the stress-reducing help I can get!

[Images via Windows Se7en and LifeHacker, Designer Information via Engineering Windows 7]

Wednesday Wisdom - Smell the Roses

All of us tend to put off living.
We are all dreaming of some
magical rose garden over the horizon
- instead of enjoying the roses
that are blooming
outside our windows today.

- Dale Carnegie

The best blush to use is laughter.
It puts roses in your cheeks
and in your soul.

- Linda Knight

It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses.

- Edgar Guest

Alright, I'll be honest. I've had my cranky pants on for a few weeks now. I've been trying to keep positive but without much success, and today is the first day I actually feel better than okay. I feel positive. I feel like I might just have the energy to go stroll around outside and actually stop to smell the roses. It's so easy to get caught up in all the teeny tiny things that aren't going well and completely forget about all the fantastic things that are going right. So I think I might just go find me some roses!

In the meantime, don't forget to enter the latest Giveaway Goodness for your chance to win a cheery little teapot! What's your favourite kind of tea? I'm usually quite boring and just stick to a premium black tea (whatever that means?!), but I think it might be time to broaden my tea horizons!

Alice Returns with Giveaway Goodness

It's no secret that I love tea. Sure I'm known to quite heavily indulge in the caffeine delights of coffee a little more often than I should, but there's nothing quite like a calming cup of tea and a biscuit or two to wind down after a hectic day.

Or better yet, making a hectic day even better by having a grand old tea party! We know that Alice in Wonderland knows how to host a killer high tea, so here's a few more chunks of Alice-inspired grandeur from LA-based photographer Paige Craig, with absolutely stunning hair and makeup by Heidi Nymark.

I have to confess, I've been keeping these images to myself for quite a while now. Lovely reader and fellow blogger Shannon brought them to my attention after my last Alice-inspired post, and I've been greedily hoarding them ever since...but not without reason! I've been keeping them waiting in the wings for this very exciting edition of...

Thank you to the lovely lady behind Baer Feat Creations, we are very excited to bring you the very first tea-related Giveaway Goodness! The store itself is full of beautiful dinnerware, bowls and all kinds of other great goodies that come in a range of designs, or that can be customised to your hearts content too! There's also a fantastic range of hand crafted bisque teapots, and for this week's giveaway we have a gorgeous little hand painted teapot that has been made especially for us! Aren't we lucky?!

To be in the running, all you have to do is comment on this post telling us all about which Baer Feat Creations piece you love and why! If you happen to love one of the unpainted products (I LOVE this Origimi bowl!) share your ideas for how you'd have them painted too!

I can't wait to hear what great ideas you come up with! The lucky winner will be selected using my trusty friend, so all the usual rules apply...only one entry per person, and if your profile or blog don't have your email address, please make sure you include that in your comment too! Entries are open until 11:59pm AEST this Saturday, 23rd May.

Good luck!

Giveaway Goodness Sans PC

Happy Monday my lovelies! I have good news and bad news for you on this fine day. The bad news is that my PC is still out of action and I no longer have any access to any of my files (including the many reminders I need to function on a daily basis - eek!) The good news however is that the show must go on, and Monday wouldn't be Monday without announcing the winner of the latest Giveaway Goodness! So without further ado, the winner is...

Congratulations playwright! One delightfully adorable 'I'd Rather Be a Ballerina Than a Scientist' necklace is all yours! This piece is the very first in a range of laser-cut jewellery from It's Not Exactly Rocket Surgery, and I can't wait to see the rest of the range unveiled!

Thank you to everyone who entered, and of course a huge thanks to the very lovely Nicole for making this Giveaway Goodness possible! And because she's not only talented but super nice too, Nicole has kindly offered an exclusive discount for you, dear readers!

That's right, 15% off* any item from It's Not Exactly Rocket Surgery AND Vintage Principessa! Just mention 'MsUnreliable' at checkout and you have yourself a bargain! This offer is only available until this Friday, 22nd of June, so be an early bird and get your little hands (wings?) on some cute accessories or a gorgeous princess dress or two!

Lastly, another apology for being so very behind with emails, comments etc! I am reading all your great emails and comments as they come in, so please know that I do appreciate them very much! Despite my attempts to catch up, I seem to be getting more and more behind every day that I don't have my PC on my side! I've missed visiting everyone's fabulous blogs, and I still haven't checked out all the great blogs and sites you shared with me the other week either! So thank you all for bearing with me, and fingers crossed I'll be back in full force at some stage in the near future.

*Discount applied to purchase price only, postage excluded. Discount will be issued as a PayPal refund or a revised invoice can be sent prior to purchase.